Commerce is defined by Wikipedia as, “…defined as a component of business which includes all activities, functions and institutions involved in transferring goods from producers to consumers…”
The only issue when doing commerce is, that it’s pretty hard for a web shop to know your needs or when receiving a mail with an offer; what mood are you in, what is it exactly you’re looking for and what need is it the user actually wants fulfilled?
In the old days, when my mom and dad were my age, when they went to buy new clothes or any other retail store, the clerk would instantly know what was bought previously! If my mom asked for something, he would instantly know all history, what she really wanted and all sizes, color, etc. It’s pretty hard to duplicate the human interaction, but with big data, data driven communication, automated marketing, etc., basically means that a lot of data is being collected, used to engage and involve you as a user and automating the process making everything scaleable, while at the same time predicting your reactions with a greater probability!
What I really wanted to say was, that the new age of web shopping is coming and making things much more seamless, relevant and convenient!
What you should do is always keep track of who’s visiting your website. Even anonymous users; use whatever is needed, e.g. cookies to keep track of users. As soon as a user goes from anonymous to a known user, you would then have to connect all your data.
So what can you use that for?
When you get good a collecting data you will have to use it everywhere; the mails you send out, rearrange your website for when users accesses it and rearrange your offers based on impressions, clicks, etc. and you have to do it live. You should combine different metrics. So even though everything points in one direction, users most often don’t know what they want, but one thing is somewhat sure. Most users want what everyone else has. So take that into accountant and try to do cluster analysis and update your predictive algorithm on-the-fly!
It may seem a bit complicated for most, but it’s actually pretty easy and some modern platforms do it out-of-the-box. Personally I would suggest you have it tailored to fit your purpose. Like people, no companies nor web shops, are alike!